|Christmas greetings to you, the faithful readers of this site! We are all tonight rejoicing in the great light of abundant joy along with the masses of believers past and present throughout the earth. Nothing brings so many people together to celebrate peace and joy as does the birth of the Christ child. Yet, many of us call for putting the Christ back in Christmas because the birth of Jesus has too often been over sentimentalized and sugar coated to the extent that it is just the story of an innocent baby who draws shepherds and angels to a humble stable of straw to announce peace on earth, goodwill toward men. As such, it is a non-threatening message – an invitation to come closer.
Not everyone does, however. For many, the message of salvation this little child brings is hidden behind the piles of packages under a tree and the great light is substituted for those little twinkling lights that circle the central image of Christmas. The carols we sing are traditional favorites. What about the “new song” we need to sing to announce the day after day salvation the Savior brings? How can that darling little baby rule the earth with justice? Many of us are not really prepared for the saving grace of God to appear, we just want to see sweet angels when we sing, “Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing ore the plain.” That reduces Christmas to just so much sugar!
Like the shepherds, what might it be like for us if we were to suddenly be confronted by a light so bright that we would be struck by fear? Can we really grasp the good news of great joy that comes to us and all people in the birth of Christ the Lord? Can we grasp the power of that light? I am very challenged by that light this Christmas. Throughout Advent, I have been daring to come closer to that light. From what I have glimpsed, It is a light so bright that it illuminates the justice of God. It brings judgment and it brings peace because of its constancy and grace. It really is our salvation! It is a way out of all our problems. That light illuminates the glory of the Lord, what the Lord can do for us, and what we can do in response.
It starts, I think, with helping others see how an innocent baby can be the face of God in all children born into poverty. That baby comes to all families forced to conform to unjust laws and to migrate away from their homes for their safety. That light helps us see the face of God in all parents who struggle to provide safety and a future for their children. That light does indeed strike fear in us when we consider that what we have seen in terms of Gods great love for us, calls us to action on behalf of Christ. I pray tonight that we will all by struck by great joy and inspired by hope as we gaze into that great light and share its peace with others.
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests!”